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Dr. Fauci's boss is extremely worried about the rise in COVID-19 cases—and is, frankly, mystified at resistance to the tools we have in hand to keep ourselves safe, like vaccines and masks. Especially with kids in hospitals, and cases predicted to reach more than 200,000 a day—that's pre-vaccine heights. How can you survive this pandemic—not just by staying alive, but by staying unharmed? Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health (aka Dr. Fauci's boss) appeared on Fox News Sunday Sunday morning with a huge warning. Read on for six life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Dr. Collins Warned We Could Be Back at 200,000 Cases Per Day Soon—"Heartbreaking"
How bad could it get? "This is going very steeply upward with no signs of having peaked out. So I will be surprised if we don't cross 200,000 cases a day in the next couple of weeks," said Collins, "and that's heartbreaking considering we never thought we would be back in that space again—that was January, February, that shouldn't be August. But here we are with the Delta variant, which is so contagious. And this heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still un-vaccinated who are sitting ducks for this virus. And that's the mess we're in, we're in a world of hurt. And it's a critical juncture to try to do everything we can to turn that around."
Dr. Collins Warned That Kids are "Very Seriously at Risk"
There's a rise in pediatric cases, as kids under 12 cannot be vaccinated yet. "That's very worrisome," said Collins. "I think traditionally people kind of considered, well, you know, kids aren't going to get that sick with this." But: "More than 400 children have died of COVID-19. And right now we have almost 2,000 kids in the hospital. Many of them in ICU, some of them under the age of four. So anybody who tries to tell you, 'Well, don't worry about the kids. That virus won't really bother them.' That's not the evidence. And especially with Delta being so contagious kids are very seriously at risk and it's up to all of us to do everything we can to protect them as well as we're trying to protect everybody else."
Dr. Collins Says Kids, Please Wear Your Masks
"Go to the CDC website," Collins told host Chris Wallace. "You'll see more than a dozen publications showing that evidence" that masks protect kids from COVID. "And already you can see in this country, the schools that have started the open without mask requirements outbreaks are happening and what happens then the kids are sent home for virtual learning, which was what we were trying to avoid. It's really unfortunate that politics and polarization have gotten the way of a simple public health measure. This mask that I'm holding as somehow become a symbol that it never should have been. This is basically just a life-saving medical device. And somehow it's now being seen as an invasion of your personal liberty. We never should have gone there."
Dr. Collins Said Immigrants Spreading COVID is "An Issue" But Not the "Cause of Our Current Dilemma"
Wallace pointed out that Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida blames President Joe Biden "for spreading COVID by letting so many people with COVID into the country illegally. In parts of Texas, the positivity rate for COVID among some of the illegal migrants coming across the border is over 10%. How responsible are they for spreading for this wave of COVID that is sweeping the country right now?"
"Well, it's certainly a cause of concern," said Collins. "They have very significant masking requirements there…but let nobody try to say, that's why the US is in trouble. The rate of infection in Mexico is actually lower than it is right now in places like Texas and Louisiana and Florida. I think that's a bit of a distraction. We've got enough of a problem with our own citizens who have refused to roll up their sleeves. So maybe that would be a better thing to focus on if we're trying to end this, that, that seemed like it was not going to get us where we need to be. It's an issue, but it's certainly not the cause of our current dilemma."
Dr. Collins Was Horrified That So Many Americans are Anti-Science
"It's devastating that we in this country, the most advanced technological society on the planet, has somehow slipped into a space where the evidence and the basis for making decisions on facts has gotten pushed aside by politics, by social media conspiracies, and by this incredible depth of anger and grievance, that seems to be held by so many," said Dr. Collins. "Our future as a nation has got to revolve around coming away from that kind of approach to everything. Or I don't see how we're going to solve all of our society's problems, which are looming in front of us. If I have one thing I'm worried about, it's not just the epidemic of COVID-19, it's the epidemic of misinformation, disinformation distrust that is tearing us apart."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.